I received the new 2.2KW spindle motor for my DIY CNC router today. It looks pretty nice so far. I was using a De-Walt handheld router for the spindle, but I wanted something that didn’t blow the dust and shavings all over the place.

The spindle is one of the many available on eBay in the 2.2KW range. Shipped from China it looks to be in great condition and uses ER20 collets. It was good to see that the collet nut had been drilled for balance in several places. It doesn’t look pretty but I’ll take balance over pretty any day.  The motor itself is fairly heavy, I’ll probably have to use a spring or gas assist/counter-weight on the Z-axis to help support the weight.  I don’t have a readily available air supply so I’m going to look at spring or gas struts that are adjustable to help support the weight.

The spindle is water cooled but I’ve done water cooled lasers and computers before so that part won’t be too difficult to setup.  I ordered the VFD (Variable Frequency Drive) from another company and hopefully that will be arriving soon as well.

One of my main reasons for upgrading is that I accidentally set to high of a feed rate when cutting some aluminum and while the lights dimmed(!) the router still cut the piece with relative accuracy. I knew then that with a higher power spindle I’d be able to do some nice aluminum machining at a reasonable speed.

Here’s a picture of the spindle next to a lighter.

It’s amazing they can cram 2.2kW into such a small unit!  Here’s a picture of the spindle end where you can see the drilled holes in the collet nut for balancing(of the collet nut).

Okay, I was just playing around with the lighter pic.  Here’s a photo of the spindle with a real lighter somewhere in the picture.

On a side note the big lighter is almost a perfect replica of a smaller lighter, I imagine I will be focusing on much smaller projects in the future. Then I can build big, throw the lighter next to the item and make them look super tiny!

Update: The Huanyang VFD (Variable Frequency Drive) came in last week and I just got it up and running today with the 2.2kw water cooled chinese spindle. I used a 10k potentiometer / 10k pot / 10k variable resistor I had handy, which was built into a joystick from something I took apart a couple years ago. I had to fiddle with the PD settings a bit to get this to work right, and make sure that the jumper on the VFD was set to VI in order for it to respond to the commands from the potentiometer and change speed.

I also found an old water pump, a Laing DD12V-D5, that I used when I was water cooling my computer.  Here’s the work list for this project.

1) Remove the DeWalt DW618 handheld router and the current SSR on/off setup I use.
2) Order and install K2 CNC mount to my Z-Axis using a spindle mount such as K2 or FineLine Automation sell.
3) Run water cooling lines and new wire for the new spindle in the cable chain. (3 wire+shield)
4) Install a 220V outlet for the VFD from the electrical box
5) Mount the VFD under the table and connect it to the Gecko 540 automation controller.

I’ll post more updates to this post specifically as things move along.

Update: I got the spindle and the VFD installed and running with Mach 3. It took a little bit of work but there’s so much help out there if you search for the common terms such as “chinese spindle mach3′  ‘chinese spindle <your controller type> ‘, etc. Every controller is a bit different, but with all the resources out there I’m sure you’ll be able to figure out a way to hook one of these up. There’s a lot of settings in the VFD controllers which need to be set right to get the speed and proper RPM readings out of the spindle but they’re all very well documented online as well.

I ended up using a 5 gallon bucket to hold the water for the spindle.  My pump is not submersible so I have a hole drilled in the side of the bucket with a fitting and a line to feed the DD12V-D5 pump.  I ordered some paired tubing from McMaster but the wall was too thick. I ended up going to Lowes and buying water line there from the plumbing department to get things working out alright. Take your spindle and test some hoses, you’ll find a couple of options.

The mount was a bit more work, I had put off ordering a mount because I didn’t really want to spend 80 bucks on one, and my friend Ollie told me he’d help me out if I ordered the materials.  We ended up going with one he designed himself, much more basic than my design, but also more sturdy.  He ran the parts on his CNC converted mill and they came out super clean. I could have run them on my machine with the DeWalt router but I doubt they could have come out as clean without a lot of sanding.

Here’s a picture of the mounts he made.

He also machined some mounting holes in my back plate for the mount and when I got home I mounted everything up. Here’s the end result.

This 2.2kW spindle runs great and I’d be willing to answer any questions about my setup or provide more pictures, just ask using the comment form below and I’ll get back to you.  Here’s a shot of it cutting some FR4 1.5mm material with a 1/16th inch end mill in one pass.



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